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(aka "Il commissario Nardone" )

 

directed by Fabrizio Costa
Italy 2012

 

After punching out his superior, Neapolitan detective Inspector Mario Nardone (Sergio Assisi, Lina Wertmuller's FERDINANDO AND CAROLINA) is transferred to Milan, which is still rebuilding after the war and contending with the rise of the mafia in this series from Silvia Napolitano (creator of FOG AND CRIMES). Over the course of twelve episodes, Nardone and his assembled team of misfit officers - aging Brigadier Muraro (Luigi Di Fiore, A ROOM WITH A VIEW), lab technician Spitz (Francesco Zecca, ONE DAY IN A LIFE) who lost his entire family when the fascists betrayed them to the Nazis, file clerk/aspiring lawyer Rizzo (Ludovico Vitrano, Giuseppe Tornatore's BAARIA), and hot-headed former fascist/expert driver Suderghi (Stefano Dionisi, GLOOMY SUNDAY) - exasperate Chief Ossola (Franco Castellano, THE THIRD LION) in their investigations which often threaten to implicate powerful members of Milanese society, including jeweler Barrone (Tanasije Uzunovic) who Nardone suspects of being a silent partner in most of the city's criminal activity. Nardone's exploits are documented by intrepid photographer Trapani (Giampiero Judica, THE DOUBLE HOUR) who was also on the receiving end of Nardone's fist after interfering in a standoff back in Monza, and whose career has also taken off as a result.

In the opening episode "Deadly Penicillin", the death of a prominent lawyer in the apartment of high-class prostitute Floriana (Anna Safroncik, NINE) is at first suspected by Nardone as a morphine overdose - even though the chief would like it to be ruled a heart attack to downplay any scandal - until Spitz discovers that the vials contained penicillin, which has become extremely hard to come by due to a series of thefts. Nardone's investigation is split between discovering who among the lawyer's influential friends might have supplied him with the contraband penicillin and who on the force was responsible for "losing" two of the three theft reports filed by lovely pharmacist Eliana (Giorgia Surina, SOMEWHERE), which quickly alienates him from his fellow officers. In the second episode, the critical injury of a security guard puts Nardone on the trail of "The Everywhere Gang" but also in conflict with the inspector in charge of the case (Igor Filipovic, WAR LIVE). Although Nardone solved the penicillin thefts, the chief found him "too enterprising" and assigned him to car thefts; however, the gang's theft of getaway cars gives his team a back door into the case.

In "Betrayals", the murder of a prominent attorney's wife in what seems to be the first violent offense in a stream of robberies by "The Black Aprilia Gang" might just as easily point to the victim's cuckolded husband when his alibi turns out to be a man he successfully defended on what was thought to be an open-and-shut murder case. In "The Forger", the shooting death of a respected engraver reveals his secret life as a master forger responsible for perfect counterfeit notes and passports. Spitz and Suderghi come into conflict over the likely suspect, a Jewish academic and war hero who has no alibi. Meanwhile, Rizzo and Muraro are on the search for Barrone's henchman Bosso (Giuseppe Soleri, THE UBALDO TERZANI HORROR SHOW) who escaped police custody and may be responsible for the death of a wiretapping lineman. In the two-parter "Slaughter of the Innocents", Rina Fort (Sara D'Amario, GIRL BY THE LAKE) appears to be the prime suspect when the wife and three children of her lover are found brutally murdered. As Nardone probes her past, he is certain that she is the killer but cannot tell whether she is mentally unbalanced or deviously cunning.

"The Return" takes place in 1959, ten years after Ossola disbanded Nardone's squad (under the guise of promoting all of them to different positions in different cities). Milan has changed. Crime has become more violent and Nardone has founded the flying squad as well as the emergency phone line 777 for citizens to report crime. Nardone and Eliana have married and have a child, Trapani has left the newspaper to found his own successful photo agency, and Flo is engaged to one of Barrone's men and has a nightclub (although she still informs for Nardone). A violent robbery of a post office is revealed to be the work of two French criminals, whose bodies are discovered along with the getaway car a short time later. Nardone suspects that Bosso has returned to Milan (having run afoul of Marseilles' leading gang) and is gathering together his old group now that Barrone is long dead. When Muraro is shot by Bosso and left in a coma, Suderghi, Spitz, and Rizzo race back to Milan and voluntarily demote themselves to become part of Nardone's squad again to take down Bosso.

When model Ludovica (Mirka Vasilevic) is discovered dead after a very public confrontation with her painter lover Vittorio (Milutin Milosevic, CHERNOBYL DIARIES) in "Dark Passion", he seems to be the most likely suspect if Nardone can crack his alibi - substantiated by his stepmother - and ignore the threats of his father who owns half of Milan. "The Hunt" is on in the ninth episode when Bosso and his crew rob a wealthy jeweler (Branislav Lecic) in broad daylight. Only a handful of people knew about the secret transaction, but Nardone casts his suspicions on the jeweler's temperamental opera singer daughter Emma (Jana Milic). The tenth episode "Champion in Disgrace" deals with another high profile case when a popular boxer is discovered brutally murdered hours after his prize fight win. Muraro, an amateur boxing coach in his spare time, suspects that Toni was meant to throw the match but changed his mind at the last moment but another motive could lie in the fighter's reputation as a ladies man. The final eleventh and twelfth episodes are the two-parter "Cat & Mouse" in which Nardone and his squad close in on Bosso who they suspect of being behind several small thefts throughout the city to raise finances and gather resources for the heist of the century. When Bosso is able to make off with four hundred million lire and evade capture, the heist erodes public confidence in the police and Nardone stakes what is left of his reputation on capturing Bosso once and for all.

As far as crime series go, INSPECTOR NARDONE is not exactly hard-hitting. It is more the Italian equivalent of a PBS mystery drama, handsomely mounted and pleasant. The case of the week is twisty but usually wrapped up tight at the resolution while the on-going story about Milan's changing crime world takes a while to get started, but then it effectively builds up Bosso from a background nobody into a truly vile character (within the restrained standards of the show). What makes the series work is the character of Nardone – first introduced as the stereotypical "southern" (Italy, that is) character come to shake up his northern colleagues and put the boot up the city's gentry – as played by the alternately easy-going and intense Assissi, and the chemistry he has with his squad, giving the audience satisfaction then they "get their man." The looks into the personal lives of the squad – Nardone and his domestic strife, Rizzo and his on-again-off-again relationship with landlady's daughter Linda (Marguerite Sikabonyi), Muraro and his long-lost daughter Anna (Tatjana Bokan), Spitz on the hunt for the man who betrayed his family to the Nazis, and Suderghi torn between his fiancée and Florianna – are less interesting but the characters are likable enough to stick with the storylines, making the series as a whole weekend viewing than primetime thrills.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 6 September 2012 - 9 October 2012 (Italian TV)

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DVD Review: Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Arrow Films

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 10h 23m (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.9 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Twelve episodes on four DVDs
• - 1. 'Deadly Penicillin' (16:9; 50:48)
• - 2. 'The Everywhere Gang' (16:9; 46:54)
• - 3. 'Betrayals' (16:9; 48:00)
• - 4. 'The Forger' (16:9; 60:14)
• - 5. 'Slaughter of the Innocents, Part 1' (16:9; 46:54)
• - 6. 'Slaughter of the Innocents, Part 2' (16:9; 57:16)
• - 7. 'The Return' (16:9; 50:22)
• - 8. 'Dark Passion' (16:9; 49:54)
• - 9. 'The Hunt' (16:9; 55:18)
• - 10. 'Champion in Disgrace' (16:9; 58:06)
• - 11. 'Cat & Mouse, Part 1' (16:9; 49:52)
• - 12. 'Cat & Mouse, Part 2' (16:9; 51:28)
• Start-up trailers for Arrow Noir and 'Inspector de Luca'

DVD Release Date: October 27th, 2014
Amaray

Chapters 60

 

Comments

Arrow presents the twelve episodes of this series on four dual-layer discs in anamorphic widescreen. Since the series is better spread out than some of Arrow's earlier TV series (which attempted to squeeze there to four hours onto each disc), the compression is better with only a few instances of aliasing (the Italian set spreads the series over only three discs). A certain degree of softness may be part of the period look, but some might be part of the SD master. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo Italian tracks are without issue, and the optional English subtitles are without any glaring errors. There are no extras save for the start-up trailers on disc one for Arrow's various "Noir" series and another period Italian detective series: INSPECTOR DE LUCA.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Arrow Films

Region 2 - PAL

 



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